xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> Former Clyde Steamer Queen Mary To Come Home
Shipping & Shipbuilding News - 25/10/2015 - The Brightest Maritime Daily

Shipping Times


Scotland News - Posted 25/10/2015

Former Clyde Steamer Queen Mary To Come Home

Dumbarton built legend will come back to Clydeside in 2016




A charity set up to save one of the last coastal turbine steamers in the world, and possibly one of the finest surviving products of Dumbarton shipbuilders Wm Denny, have recently announced that the QUEEN MARY of 1933 has been formally handed over to them and will return to the Clyde in 2016

The ship has been languishing in London for many years and has suffered a great deal from neglect. Her previous owners also neglected to pay her berthing dues and Forth Ports arrested the vessel in July of this year, raising fears she would be scrapped.


However Friends of TS Queen Mary, a registered charity that has spent four years raising awareness and fighting to save the vessel, have confirmed that on the 21st October 2015 TS Queen Mary passed into the ownership of the Charity.

In their statement they said that work would proceed immediately to make repairs to the vessel with engineers and contractors boarding her within days of the announcement to assess her condition and start work to make her fit for the journey home.


The charity have plans to berth her at the Riverside Museum on the North Bank of the Clyde, in Glasgow, some 15 miles further up the river from where she was born, on the banks of the River Leven at Dumbarton.

The classic vessel was a firm favourite on Clyde waters for many years. She first saw service in 1933 and in her original guise was a solid but elegant looking steamship with her two original white funnels and smart livery.

Powered by marine turbines, she was silent and roomy and was considered by many to be the epitome of coastal passenger ship design. The charity in its statement said that the "moment belonged" to the workers of Denny in Dumbarton who had built the vessel.

Wm Denny of Dumbarton were one of the most famed shipyards in the world. Always innovators the first Denny shipbuilder arrived on the scene in 1814 in steamship construction and later in 1843 they began building ships at their yards in Dumbarton until 1964 when the gates finally closed for ever. Throughout their history the Dennys contributed greatly to world shipbuilding, even though they were tiny compared to yards like Scotts, Lithgows, John Browns and Fairfields. They gave the world stabilisers; the first steamship to cross the English Channel; they were the first to use mild steel in steamships construction; produced the first turbine passenger ship; built the entire Irrawaddy Flottila (and owned it); were great socially aware employers, building towns for their workers, inaugurating welfare and employee rewards systems unheard of in their day and generally were considered pre-eminent amongst their peers.

In association with Pearsons, they developed turbine propulsion and fitted it to the most elegant steamships ever constructed. Starting with the pioneering King Edward in 1901 they went on to build turbine steamers that saw service on the Firth of Clyde, Canada and on the Irish and English channels.

In 1933 they produced the Queen Mary, a beautiful elegant creation but with added purposeful stance and strength. She was launched into the River Leven on Thursday, 30th March 1933 and completed later that year for Williamson-Buchanan Steamers Ltd, Glasgow. She saw her last days of Clyde service under the ownership of Caledonian MacBrayne until 1977 when she was withdrawn after the company announced they would terminate Clyde cruising.

Unlike ps WAVERELY who was purchased by a charity and recommenced cruising on the Clyde, the veteran turbine ended up as a static attraction, and after some years lying at Greenock she was later operated by Bass and sat at London's Embankment for many years.

What she became very famous for was her name of course. Her owners were approached by the Cunard company who said that they intended to name their huge ocean liner building at John Brown's in the thirties, Queen Mary as well, and to save confusion the steamer's owners agreed to append the suffix II to her name. Thus it was there were two Clydebuilt Queen Marys from 1936 onwards.

Currently there are no plans to put the ship back into service, as costs would be prohibitive and it is unlikely she ever will operate again, but at least now she has a much more secure future and it will be a very emotional moment for the people of Dumbarton and the Clyde when they witness the homecoming of this beloved and venerable old lady.

( Clean lines of the original Queen Mary )


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